Hammonds has ­introduced mandatory ­sabbaticals for all associates in its corporate department in a bid to cut costs.

Peter Crossley

Peter Crossley

The national firm will force all corporate associates to take two-month ­sabbaticals.

Hammonds managing partner Peter Crossley said: “We’re trying to respond to market conditions by ­reducing costs with as little impact to the team as ­possible. The point is we’re trying to avoid making more redundancies.”

The move comes after Hammonds’ corporate finance and real estate teams were hit badly by the pressures of the downturn.

Crossley said: “These are two areas that have been particularly challenging. We could consider doing this in other practice areas if it was required and suitable for that group.”

Crossley added that the firm was considering other cost-reduction measures, including a four-day week for some departments.

Earlier this year the firm lost 77 staff at the close of its redundancy consultation, which was launched in November 2008 (The Lawyer, 3 February).